Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My life changing news...

Do these give you a hint?








Well....these shots are purely amateur. But, it is what I have wanted to do my whole life. So, starting June 1st, I will be attending the Summer Intensive, two professional series courses in weddings & editorial portraiture, and Advanced Intensive at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography here in Missoula, MT.

I don't often share very personal stuff here, but maybe it is time for just a little snippet into my decision. I really wanted to go to school for photography the first time around. But, at the tender age of 18 when I was very impressionable and a little scared of being in college....my counselor talked me out of photography because it was a journalism degree at the University of Montana. So, I pursued Business Administration instead, with my emphasis in both marketing and management. And you know what...I don't regret that decision. Having a business degree is only going to help me in the long run. And the fact that I have worked for the past 7 years in a business related field has given me experience that will be invaluable.

After graduating and getting married...I put that dream on a back burner and didn't really think about it much. I still took tons of photos and still loved doing it. But, we were so green in our new life, and I was fresh out of college with a large debt from said college to pay off. And while photography didn't become unimportant...it just became out of my reach for the time being.

Fast forward to when Josh surprised me with my first DSLR in October of 2006...the entry level Nikon D50. I was in love. I don't think in love even describes it. The speed....the settings...the clarity it shot with- photography came to the forefront again. I took hundreds upon hundreds of photos with my D50. More photos than I even knew how to edit. Along with taking the hundreds of photos...I started learning how to use Photoshop. I still only know a small portion of Photoshop, but I look forward to learning it inside and out come June 1st.

I started thinking a lot about photography school, and I learned about the school right here in Missoula. Lots of fabulous reviews from past students, instructors...even community members who have either know students or hired photographers that graduated from there. Starting in January of 2008...I was studying and devouring the website often. I think by July I knew everything they had to offer by heart. By November...I was consumed by it. I knew I had to make a decision. So- finally at the beginning of this year, I sat down with Josh and we made the decision. It was time for me to reach for my dream. To pull it from the back burner.

So, since then we have been getting everything in line for me to start in June. I have to quit my job in order to attend...so we have been saving. The financial aspect has been the scariest part for me, but we have it all figured out now. I can breath a sigh of relief, and actually believe that this is really happening. I can tell people that I am going to school because I know for sure now...I really am. That thought just makes me smile.

So, there you have it. A little bit of my heart poured out. I am excited, and nervous, and scared...but more peaceful than I have felt in a long time. I know this is the right decision for me and for Josh...and for our future.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my exciting news! If you made it this far....you are a saint. I will be sure to take anyone along on my adventure that wants to...just keep up with my blog starting June 1st. (Well...I would love for you to keep up with my blog before then as well. Tee hee!)

Until later,
~Lea

PS- I know that I mentioned a giveaway card challenge...and I still plan to do it. I totally dropped the ball this weekend on it, and I am so sorry!! Please be on the lookout for the challenge information this week! I promise there really will be one, and it is a great giveaway!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Be Inspired 24, CPS 108 & More!

Hey everyone!! Sorry I haven't been posting much this week! Our internet has been whacked out all week long (along with our phone and cable...all the same company of course, so when they have problems...they have PROBLEMS!). So, I am just going to share everything together!

First up is my card for Be Inspired #24 at the Cuttlebug Challenge blog this week. We were sponsored by The Cutting Cafe this week...so be sure to check them out! The cute cupcake and sentiment were part of what we were given to use...aren't they darling?!

And we have a BIG deal going on at the Cuttlebug Challenge this week. Provo Craft wants to know what YOU would like to see happen with the Cuttlebug machine, dies & folders. Please go to THIS post on the blog, and read about the great giveaways we are doing, become a follower of the blog, and most importantly...take the survery for Provo Craft! The only way to get what we want is to tell them...so this is a great opportunity!!
Up next is my card for sketch 108 at CPS this week. We were sponsored by The Angel Company courtesy of Chris Franco this week...we got the cardstock, paper, and adorable stamps from her this week! So fun!
**PULLED FOR PUB**

And last but not least is this card I got done featuring the awesome "Darling Damask" stamp set and Mineral Ice Dotted Ribbon from Renaissance By Design. I just ADORE this set...and I see myself using it a lot in the future! And the ribbon...rocks!! Some of the best ribbon I have used! Be sure to check them out!
**PULLED FOR PUB**

So- what did you think of Idol last night? I found something out last night...I am just not a fan of motown. There- I said it. If it makes me less American...so be it. I don't like motown. I was kind-of "meh" about the whole night. I do adore Danny, and I actually thought he did a great job getting out of his comfort zone a bit. I don't think the dancing was corny at all...I thought it was fun and showed a different side to him. I normally agree with what comes out of Simon's mouth (although, he could have a bit more tact. But, that wouldn't pull in the ratings, would it?) But, I didn't agree with him about Danny's performance. I thought it was geat! I thought Adam was really great too. Showed his vocal range, and it was nice to see him more subdued, without the over the top makeup, hair, and clothing. Matt, Kris, Anoop & Allison all did great jobs as well...even if I didn't care for the style of music. But Michael, Megan, Scott & Lil...meh. My thoughts on who will go home tonight...Michael or Megan. What do you think?

Well, I won't post again until this weekend. I am thinking of doing a card challenge with a great giveaway...so be sure to check back. AND- I think I might be ready to let everyone in on what has been going on in my life, and what the big change is. So- please be sure to check back if you want to know!

Until later,
~Lea

Monday, March 23, 2009

Honey & Tea Gift Set

Yesterday was my first Spotlight Sunday at the Cuttlebug Challenge blog, and I did this cute Honey & Tea Set for it! Be sure to click on the link to get more details about my project!

It also features these awesome products from Renaissance by Design. Be sure to check them out- great prices, and great quality:
~Bee-Mail stamps
~Mineral Ice Satin Dot ribbon
~Square 8oz Clear Top tin


Sorry I haven't been a great blogger this past week! Life was a little busy with other things going on...so I haven't had a lot of crafty time! Hope that changes this week a bit...I need to spend some time in my room!
Have a happy Monday!
~Lea


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Be Inspired 23- Punches

How is everyone doing on this fine day after all the St. Patty's celebrations? Did you drink green beer, or eat corned beef and cabbage? Well- I sure didn't. We had waffles for dinner, and watched American Idol. Pretty exciting, huh? ;)

Well, it is time for another Cuttlebug Challenge post! This week Be Inspired #23 was all about using punches in an interesting way. The only punches I own are border punches....so I did what I could. I like that the layers of punched borders give it a bit of a fashion look...like layers on a dress or ruffles. And every single piece of patterned paper used was from my scrap basket...so that is pretty great. Gotta love using up every last piece of this fabulous American Crafts paper!! I also embossed that great dotted border at the top using my Cuttlebug, and one of the "With Love" border folders. "Thanks" Card supply list:
Cardstock: Bazzill Basics & Prism
Paper/Flower: American Crafts
Chipboard: Heidi Swapp
Jewels: Doodlebug Designs & Westrim Crafts
Border Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts
Embossing Machine: Cuttlebug by Provo Craft (w/ "With Love" embossing folder)

Be sure to hop on over to the blog and check out what the other gals did with their punches!! Lots of fabulous work!

Okay- so let's dish on American Idol last night. I was actually very impressed with all of them except....Michael (of all people...the one who should have blown it up because it is totally his genre) and Adam. Oh my goodness gracious...Johnny Cash and every member of the Grand Ole Opry that has passed on turned over in their grave last night during that performance. But, we all know he won't go home next week because he has quite the following. And I agree with that...he does have talent. But this week....BAD. Bad, bad, bad, bad. I wish I could just forget I ever saw it or heard it.

How about Anoop and Kris?! Talk about redemption from last week for Anoop, and I think this is the first time I have heard Kris sing and really felt like he could be a front runner! They both did an amazing job. Of course, Danny and Matt were fabulous. I think those two are my very faves as of now- two artists that I would buy an album from right now if they were available. Allison did a great job rocking her country song, and actually...so did Lil! I was very impressed with her...even if the judges thought the song choice was bad. I didn't agree with them on that. Alexis is was pretty much "meh", and while I just don't care for the sound of Megan's voice...she is beautiful, and I give her PROPS for performing the way she did with Influenza-B. That takes some fight. And last, but definitely not least....Scott. Vocally- he just isn't up there with the other contestants. But, I LOVE to watch him sing and play the piano. It is just pure joy exuding from him every time he plays, and it captivates me.

I have zero thoughts on who will go home tomorrow night. Zero- I have no clue who it might be. Do you have any ideas? Share your thoughts on that with me, and any of your thoughts on the Idol performances last night if you want!

Happy Wednesday,
~Lea

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Well, I posted my St. Patrick's Day themed cards on Sunday, but thought I would still give my well wishes today! And, I do have a couple other cards to share with you! First up is a card I did for Kazan's sketch #22 this week at 2 Sketches 4 U. A couple we know just had a baby boy, and so this is to go with the gift we got them. I also reached pretty deep into my American Crafts stash on this one...pretty old paper, but still pretty great paper in my book!
"Little Prince" Card supply list:
Cardstock: Bazzill Basics
Paper/rub-ons: American Crafts
Stickers: Martha Stewart Crafts
Jewels: MAMBI & Westrim Crafts
Corner Rounder: EK Success

And this is based on Kazan's Sketch #21 from a couple weeks ago. I didn't have the chance to use the sketch until this weekend...and I loved it! So, I had to make sure I got it done!
"Cherished" Card supply List:
Cardstock: Bazzill Basics
Paper: Basic Grey
Chipboard: Heidi Swapp
Jewels: Doodlebug Designs & Heidi Swapp
Ink: Clearsnap
Corner Rounder: EK Success
Border Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts

So- are you ready for American Idol tonight??? I sure am..this is the first season in a long time that has kept my attention. Tonight is Idol gone country night...and it will be interesting to see how they all do with country music. Michael and Kris will be right at home. I think that Danny, Matt, Allison & Alexis (as long as she doesn't over do it, and isn't so vampy this week) all have the potential to do an amazing job. Adam could prove himself to me a bit if he tones it down, and maybe shows a softer, less showbiz side of him. But, he does have the potential to totally over do it as well. He is loved though...so no matter what, we know he will be safe next week. I think the rest of them have a high potential of failure on this one, unfortunately. They just don't seem versatile enough to pull off country. But- they could prove me wrong...we will just have to wait and see tonight!

Well, I better get going for now. Consider yourself pinched if you aren't wearing green today! :)

Until later,
~Lea

Sunday, March 15, 2009

CPS 107 meets St. Patty's Day!

I was feeling the pull to make some fun St. Patrick's Day cards...so that is exactly what I did with my card for sketch 107 at the CPS Blog this week! Isn't the little pot o' gold cute?!

"Luck O The Irish To Ya!" Card Supply List:
Cardstock: Bazzill Basics
Paper: Basic Grey
Stickers: Making Memories & Darice
Chipboard: American Crafts
Rhinestones: Doodlebug Designs
Glitter: Ranger Stickles
Ink: Clearsnap
Diecut: Cricut Expression (w/ Paper Dolls cartridge)
Corner Rounder: EK Success

And this cutie shamrock card is based on Laura's sketch 21 at the 2 Sketches 4 U blog this past week. I finally had a chance to get to it on Saturday evening. I'm digging the rainbow of mini jewels on this one...how about you? :)
"Celebrate!" Card Supply List:
Cardstock: Bazzill Basics
Paper: Basic Grey & Scenic Route
Sticker: Darice
Rub-on: Making Memories
Jewels/Glitter: Doodlebug Designs
Ink: Clearsnap
Corner Rounder: EK Success
Border Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts
Embossing Machine: Cuttlebug by Provo Craft (w/ Swiss Dots folder)

Well, that is about as Irish as this girl of German descent gets. Not a big fan of corned beef & cabbage...or green beer. But, I do love the shamrock....so maybe, just maybe...I will make some cute shamrock shaped sugar cookies like I did last year. I will have to see if I have time to! :)

On that note:
May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish Blessing

Until later,
~Lea

Thursday, March 12, 2009

CPS 106 & Forest Friendzy

Happy Thursday morning! Well, I have some really cute cards to share with you today...so let's get started! First up is my card for sketch 106 at the CPS Blog this week. I also used some new stamps that just came in the mail called "Forest Freindzy"...a new set in the Kim Hughes Collection by Cornish Heritage Farms. Isn't this set completely and utterly ADORABLE?! Totally love it! Be sure to check out the link to the stamps so you can see all the cute images the set has, and here is a link to Kim's blog...she always does really cute samples with her collections. This card features some more of those cute Kim Hughes stamps, along with a Papertrey Ink stamp that makes my kind-of random sun. :) I like it though! My past couple of posts I have been using up some older Scenic Route papers...and I had forgotten how much I love the color pallette of this collection! I am glad I still have quite a bit left, although I have used a ton of it.
So- did you watch the results show for American Idol last night? What did you think of the new rule? I think it is definitely necessary...I almost wish they had the option to do it more than once. But, at least once is better than before. Chris Daughtry would have definitely been saved...although, he has done just fine on his own without winning Idol. So- I guess we will see how it works this season.

I pretty much figured it would be Jasmine, Jorge or Anoop last night..so no surprise there. I figured Megan would make it to the next round...I don't really care for her singing or twitchy dancing but I can see where she would appeal to some. And it made me chuckle how quickly Ryan had both Danny and Adam sit down. He knows that America isn't stupid, and there was no way they weren't safe. No need for any dramatic anticipation on those two. Hee hee! If you are an Idol watcher...let me know what you think! I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until later,
~Lea

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cuttlebug Be Inspired #22- Glitter & Sweet N Sassy

Happy Wednesday everyone!! It is already time for another Cuttlebug Challenge post....time is just flying these days!

This week the Be Inspired #22 challenge was to use glitter, and one of these Sweet N Sassy Digital Stamps on our project. I obviously chose one of the butterflies to work with. After printing the butterfly digital stamp directly onto the white cardstock block, I dry embossed it in my Cuttlebug with the Swiss Dots folder, rounded the right hand corners, and adhered it to the front of the card. After that I accented the butterfly with LOTS of Ranger Stickles, and finished up the rest of the card. Hope you like it!
"UR Awesome Everday" Card Supply List:
Cardstock: Bazzill
Paper: Scenic Route
Stickers: Making Memories
Pearls: Michael's brand
Digital Stamp: Sweet & Sassy
Jewels: Doodlebug Designs
Glitter: Ranger Stickles
Corner Rounder: EK Success
Border Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts


So- how about that American Idol last night, huh? Danny Gokey still gets my vote, but I also loved Allison, Matt...and I have to admit, Adam's performance. I don't care for how over the top he is, nor what I like to call his "fake emo" look....but I can admit that the boys got pipes.

Enough said...I'm out,
~Lea

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

January Publications

Wow! Long time no blog....sorry! Life has just been a little busy the past few days. I am photographing my cousin's wedding in April, so on Saturday I went over to Helena to check out the church and the reception venue. I also chatted with my cousin about the pace of the day, and I even found her some other locations to do the portrait shots that she is very excited about! She knows I am not a professional...but she trusts me and they feel comfortable with me. And I am very happy that they are giving me the chance!

Starting tomorrow I will have quite a few new things to share with you the rest of the week...but for today I have my January publications. This layout was in the Hot Spots article of the January CK. (well, minus the mittens. In the magazine it is a glittery heart...but I like the mittens better...so I put them back on when I got the layout back.) Click on it to see it larger...it looks better that way!
And these were in the January 09 issue of Cards Magazine.






So- did anyone watch Dancing With The Stars last night? Do you have a favorite yet? The Bachelor chick did great for only having two days to practice, but considering she was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and has a dance background...it should be expected. She isn't my favorite. Shawn Johnson is my favorite....she danced beautifully last night, and I have to disagree with the judges about her gymnast arm movements. I thought they added personality and pop to her dance last night. And so far, none of the men contestants have impressed me...not even Cheryl Burke's partner (but I also don't find him that attractive either. I may be the only woman in America who thinks that- hee hee!)

Well, tonight is American Idol night!!! And I am so excited to finally hear Danny Gokey sing again! I think this season is going to be really great...they have a lot of talent in these 13 finalists! (And seriously....how cool was that for Anupe last week?! He isn't my favorite vocally, but he seems like a truly genuine guy.)

Well, I better go work! :) See you on the flip side,
~Lea

Thursday, March 5, 2009

CPS & "Keep In Touch" Card Shop

This week at CPS we were sponsored by the "Keep In Touch" Card Shop. The lovely owner, Kelly McMaster, sent each CPS designer a different kit based on our individual styles. How awesome is that?! Be sure to check out her cute little online shop, and be sure to get your card done for this week's sketch! Get it linked up to the Mr. Linky post, and you will be entered to win a kit from Kelly!! Check her blog post here for details!

This is my card for sketch #105 this week at CPS....everything on this card except the cardstock and "thanks" rub-on sentiment are part of my kit contents from Kelly. I adore all the bright colors and fun embellishments she sent...I embellished this little card until my heart was content! :) And this card was done using up some of the paper scraps and more cute contents from the kit. The only items not from her kit on this one are the letters. This card was also inspired by THIS awesome ad challenge at a new card challenge blog called 365 Cards. There is a fun challenge every single day at this blog, so be sure to check it out! The colors in the add, and the great wall art in it provided my inspiration for this one!
Now let me tell you...it has been a crazy day! As many of you know, I work for a television station. We have stations in 4 cities in the state, including Bozeman, Montana. This morning around 8am there was a large explosion most likely caused by natural gas in downtown Bozeman that completely destroyed 5 businesses. So- it was obviously hopping at my place of employment today. Once we caught wind of what was happening...I was on the phone calling Bozeman reporters and anchors in...people were running up and down the stairs from the news room to the studio...cut-ins all morning long whenever we got breaking news....just craziness all day long! All but 1 person is accounted for right now, and we are all hoping for a good outcome there. And while it was a crazy day...it was very rewarding to know that we did everything we could to make sure our viewers were kept notified on the situation.

Well, I am off to watch the American Idol wild card show! Hope you have a great Thursday night!

Until later,
~Lea

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cuttlebug Be Inspired #21- Watercolor

Happy Wednesday everybody! Well, by now you know that Wednesday on my blog means there is a brand new challenge at the Cuttlebug Challenge blog...and this Wednesday is no different. I really hope you enjoyed the Valerie Salmon sketch from last week!

This week's "Be Inspired #21" challenge is to use Watercolor. Well- I thought long and hard about this one. I don't have any stamps that would work for the challenge, nor would I actually know how to use them if I did! :) I'm not very artsy...so doing real watercolor, or even drawing with watercolor pencils wasn't going to work out. But then I came upon these two sheets of Basic Grey "Porcelain" that I have, and I was instantly inspired for the challenge. I think they have a gorgeous watercolor look to them, and thus my card for the challenge was born! I used my Cuttlebug and the "Swiss Dots" embossing folder to dry emboss the background of the card. After that, I added a small dry embossed border to the bottom of the right side patterned paper using one of the "With Love" embossing borders. I think it helps bring out the sentiment!
"Thinking of You" Card supply list:
Cardstock: Bazzill Basics
Paper: Basic Grey
Rub-on: American Crafts
Brads: K & Company and Karen Foster
Ribbon: May Arts
Pearls: Michael's brand
Ink: Clearsnap
Corner Rounder: EK Success

Be sure to hop on over to the blog and check out what the other gals have come up with!! And don't forget to link up if you take part in the challenge...we love to see what you do with it! Well, I am going to finish my glass of pomegranate blueberry juice, and be on with my day!

Until later,
~Lea

PS- I posted some layouts on this last blog entry. I don't post layouts too often, so check them out if you have a chance! I would love to hear what you think!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The girl does layouts too....

Tee hee! I know you know that I do layouts...but I haven't posted any in a LONG time. Truthfully...I have a lot of layouts done that I have never posted. Many from my "Scrapbooker of the Year" entry, and some from the SOY projects that I had to do, and others that I just haven't posted....and I have decided that it is time to start posting them. (Not all at one time...that would be total overload!)

First up are three layouts that I did for a SOY project. I had to record a video segment, and my video segment was on making the most of your product. I gathered up a kit of a few sheets of cardstock, 5 patterened papers, chipboard letters & a few shapes, and a handful of jewels...to show how many projects you could get out of them. These three layouts were done with the kit, and I also did 5 cards....can't seem to find the images of the cards right now. If I find them...I will post them later. (Click on the layouts to view them larger. They look better!) :)



These next two layouts are my February projects for Provo Craft. The Jo-Ann's stores need some Cricut layout samples...so that was my assignment. First up, I had to do a Halloween themed layout. Which is hard for someone who doesn't have kids and who doesn't really do anything for Halloween....but I remembered that I did have this CUTE photo of Sadie in her costume. This layout uses the "Paper Dolls Dress Up" cartridge (fence, pumpkin cuts), and the "Opposites Attract" cartridge (letters).
And my second assignment was a summer themed layout. I used the "Camp Out" solutions cartridge (cabin, shooting star cuts) and the "Opposites Attract" cartridge (letters) on this one. On both layouts, I really wanted to show that you can use these great cuts while still maintaining good design principles, and a balanced layout. Alright...I may just go into shock after posting so many layouts now. ;) Hope that you like them!

And now I have a random recommendation for anyone who has a glass cooktop stove. The Scotch-Brite Cook Top Cleaner is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!

We have a black cooktop....and it is so hard to keep clean. This new tool is like magic! Now my cooktop is gleaming (minus the scratches that I put on it by using the wrong cleaner. Oooops!) and it doesn't take a freaking hour to clean. The combination of the cleaner, the scrub, and the amount of force you can put on the handled tool=FAB-U-LOUS (typed in my best Jim Carrey voice)!! The only other thing you need is a soft rag to wipe off the cleaner and buff the cooktop to a nice shine! They are available at all your major stores like Target....and Best Buy?! (seriously...who knew? I guess considering they do sell cooktop stoves, it makes sense- and I get a discount on them because Josh works for the BBY! Sa-weet!)

Alright- totally finished selling product to you. I swear I make NO commission on the Scotch-Brite cooktop cleaner...hee hee! Just had to share- in case any of you have the same issue with cleaning your glass top stove that I did. I hope you have had a fabulous start of your week!

Until later,

~Lea